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Experts stress on proper treatment plan for Asthma

PUNE: Experts on Monday said that a proper treatment plan can prevent deaths especially in children due to asthma.

"The prevalence of asthma in Pune is about 4-5% . Children in the 2-6 years age group, youngsters above 20 years are mostly affected due to asthma. Old age asthma can be also due to multiple medical reasons. Asthma may not always be necessarily genetic. It can be due to external factors like environmental toxins, pollution among others," said pulmonologist Mahavir Modi, TB consultant at Ruby Hall Clinic.

Commenting on the current scenario of asthma, Modi said, "Every day I see 7-10 patients that require consultation not only for disease but for continuing the medicine. It has been found that adherence to asthma medication is very poor and tends to falter after few months in both children and adults and the rate of non-adherence has been estimated to be around 60%."

There are many reasons why patients stop inhalers. These include unnecessary concerns about the cost of medication, side effects, myths about inhaler devices and social stigmas.

There are also several psychological barriers which lead to inhibitions such as dissatisfaction with healthcare professionals, inappropriate expectations, anger about one's condition, underestimation of the severity of the condition and casual attitude towards health.

"The most effective asthma treatment - inhalation therapy is available in India at a price as low as Rs 4 to Rs 6 per day. It is important that we overcome these barriers and understand the importance of inhalation therapy and adhere to it, if we have to control asthma," Modi said, adding, "Many a times asthma can decrease after the age 10-12 years as lung functions develop . However inhaler therapy should not be stopped without consultation of the doctors."

The prevention of asthma requires multi fold awareness. Since it can be caused due to environmental factors , awareness on clean and green environment is necessary. Also people staying near construction sites can be prone to allergy. "But the biggest awareness can start from our home where we find a lot of dust, dust mites on sofas, bed sheets , fans , carpets which are unclean," said another expert.
The World Asthma Day is observed on May 5.